Counseling Patients on the Importance of Flu Shots

Many pharmacies and hospitals offer flu shots to patients, sometimes at low or even no cost. If you find some patients are leery about getting a shot, consider following the counseling tips below:


1.      First of all, be sure to let your patient know whom you can and cannot inoculate. Some states put restrictions on whether or not a pharmacist can give the flu shot to children (providing shots only to adults). What’s more your particular company may have protocols different than those of another pharmacy and/or hospital, so be sure to let patients know – either verbally or with posted signs – what the restrictions (if any) you have on providing flu inoculations.

2.      Many people mistakenly believe that the flu shot they received the year before will be “good” for the current flu season. Different strains of the influenza virus pop up each year and vaccine manufacturers do their best to ensure a vaccine is good for the strain(s) expected to arrive for the coming season. Make sure you let patients know that they need to get a flu shot each and every year.

3.      Let them know that, more than likely, they’ll have to fill out some paperwork before they receive the shot. This paperwork includes important questions about any allergies an individual may have, so let your patients know that it’s important to fill the paperwork out as thoroughly as possible.

4.      Let patients know that if they have a mild case of sniffles, it’s probably OK to get a flu shot. However, a bad cold and/or the flu (how ironic!) means it’s not a good time to get inoculated, particularly if the individual has a fever.

5.      If the individual is not currently a patient at your pharmacy or hospital, let the person know that he or she will need to bring insurance information to the inoculation appointment. Also, let them know if it’s OK to just pay cash for the shot.

6.      Many people don’t know that pharmacists have been trained to give inoculations, so you may have to explain to an individual that you have, indeed, received proper training in giving shots.

7.      Make sure your patients know they must see to it that the pharmacy/hospital knows about any health conditions (diabetes, for example), allergies (eggs or latex) or prescription medications they’re taking before receiving the shot.

8.      Be sure your patients know that they should tell their doctor they’ve received the shot. Let them know you could do this for them.


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